Who am I?Hello DOTAFIRE! I'm Sh1ftR (also know as Domingo, my nickname) a casual DotA player since 2014. The day that I saw Underlord's skills and gameplay on DotaA 1, I started counting the days for his realease, and since then, I enjoy a lot playing him in Normal, Ranked games and special events. I hope this guide helps offlane players to play better with Underlord and anyone who wants to learn how to play with him.
Good luck and have fun, boyz! Sh1ftR
16 June, 2017
Why Underlord?Pit Lord is a solid pick on Normal or Ranked games; however, he's heavily dependent on enemy matchup and team composition. Under's excels at long fights because of Atrophy Aura, disrupting the enemy's backline or initiation due to Firestorm and Pit of Malice and counterpushing with Dark Rift, but this comes at the cost of low mana pool, few defensive abilities and low armor.
Underlord's Strenghts+ Can interrupt the backline + Atrophy Aura maintains the lane equilibrium and helps farming and trading in lane + Can save allies and counterpush with Dark Rift + Extensive fights makes Atrophy Aura a threat to right-clickers + Firestorm works well on stunned enemies and for wave clearing + Prevents certain move abilities and items with Pit of Malice
With the early point in Atrophy Aura and a Poor Man's Shield Underlord can easily control the lane equilibrium, jungle with few regen or armor items and get a good trade in lane, even if it's a trilane. Positioning Firestorm in a way that it hits both the creeps and the enemy carry makes you zone him out to deny his farm and make your's easier. Timing Dark Rift can get you out of sticky situations and turn ganks around. Underlord's kit is simple, still, it can be used in various ways, thus making him a real threat if joined with his team.
Underlord's Weaknesses- Low mana poll - Requires getting into mid/late game to have good INT./STR. stats - Pit of MaliceDOESN'T STOP the enemy from attacking or channeling spells - Low mobility and no escape mechanism - Poor positioning can cost a teamfight - Requires good team coordination
Under's biggest weaknesses are his lack of escape mechanisms, low mobility, but most importantly, the team coordination. On both Normal and Ranked games, people tend to play by themselves or just do what they think is right, making communication a really important aspect to win games with Underlord. After changes in patch 7.00 Pit of Malice stopped piercing through spell-immnunity and interrupting channel abilities, as well taking out the True Sight the Pit gave on his entire duration and putting it only when the unit is rooted. Abilities used promptly can cost an entire fight because of their long cooldowns.
Underlord's Q and W are skills that take long to finish, so heroes with long stuns and snares work well with the Firestorm -- Pit of Malice combo, as well as AoE nukes and spells, who benefits from Pit of Malice. Other heroes to worth mentioning are those who have ablities that need groups of enemies to work efficiently, like Lich, Disruptor and Sand King.
On the other hand, Underlord can be countered in several different ways. Any hero who deals damage through Unique Attack Modifiers, heroes that do damage through spells or that build raw damage instead of stats and spells and items that gives straight up bonus damage, since Atrophy Aura reduces base damage. Even mobility items counter Underlord, for e.g. Force Staff, Hurricane Pike: specially these two, that can push either Underlord away from the enemy, his team or one specific target, happening in most cases on the gathering for the Dark Rift relocation.
Firestorm is his bread and butter skill for farming, zoning and wave clearing. Underlord calls down waves of fire in a radius that deals damage for each wave hit plus max HP% of damage per second for 2 seconds. For example, if a target stands still for the full duration, it can do 420 dmg + 32% of max HP, but it's very unlikely to happen. Enemies can't see the particles before the cast, only allies, but they can see Underlord changing directions when casting it, since Firestorm and all of his skills have a 0.6 cast point, so keep that in mind. This should be maxed first.
Pit of Malice
Pit of Malice is another tool for zoning, but more importantly, stopping initiations and trapping enemies. Is the second part of the Firestorm - PoM combo, and as the previous ability, it's also a circle, but it roots any target that is inside the radius for 1.8 seconds. Each unit hit by Pit of Malice gains a Unique Modifier that makes them be rooted again in an interval of 3.6 seconds. It gives True Sight and disables moving abilities and items like Burrowstrike, Blink Dagger and Pounce only on the targets that are under the duration of the root. If running away, cast this clicking in front of Underlord, this will make him cast the PoM withou wasting time turning around. This should be maxed second.
Atrophy Aura is Under's passive. It's a big radius that weakens enemies and strengthens the big guy. It reduces nearby enemy units base damage and gives bonus attack damage to Underlord for any unit that dies within the effect radius, being that 45 per hero and only 5 per creep, that lasts for 60 seconds at max level. This makes Underlord be able to jungle without much effort, control his lane and harass the enemy lane. This should be maxed third.
Dark Rift is the key aspect that makes Underlord a strong pick and be a real play-maker machine. This skill has global range and can target friendly units and structures. Underlord creates a rift that, after a delay, teleports him and any nearby hero to that's unit location. Dark Rift can be cancelled in two ways: either cancelling it manually or if the unit that's being targeted dies. This should be leveled everytime it's available.
Dark Rift have plenty of interactions that can be used in different ways, such as: ✦ Double clicking on the skill icon or the ground teleports you to your fountain, just like a Town Portal Scroll.
✦ Dark Rift will teleport heroes, illusions, and creep heroes, such as golems, familiars and spirit bear. It won't teleport normal units like creeps, spiderlings and necro warriors, however, you can teleport TO spiderlings, necro warriors, Beastmaster's Call of the Wild (Hawk),Call of the Wild (Boar), golems, etc., but NOT to Lone Druid's bear.
✦ It doesn't interrupt channeling, but this isn't applied to all channeling spells, some units leave the impact of their spell where they were while some bring it with them. There are some definite winning interactions and some you just need to be careful about. To know wheter the skill will follow the hero or not remember this rule:if a spell is targeted, it will leave its effects where they were targeted even if the channeling hero is teleported across the map while if it is based at the caster's location (e.g. Sandstorm or Freezing Field), the effects WILL come with that hero.
✦ When Dark Rift is targeted to a unit,
it lowers that unit's target auto attack priority for all non-player units, meaning that other creeps will neglect to attack it if there is other unit, hero or structure nearby. A good example on how this works:
You can save towers, racks, creep heroes and etc. Think how you can save these with this aggro save for some clutch plays. ✦ You CANNOT cancel Dark Rift when casted if you're silenced, so be really sure where and when to use it.
Level 10:+18 Firestorm Damage vs +30 Movement Speed : Although the bonus movespeed can be very tempting, the +18 Firestorm Damage is the most beneficial on the long-run because of its increased damage eatly in the game. With the changes on the general gameplay with the 7.07 patch the team who gets the advantage first will be more likely to win, so this talent choice makes you be more careful with your positioning than you were before.
Level 15:+100 Cast Range vs +15 Atrophy Bonus Attack Damage : +100 Cast Range is a very low increase to Underlord's spell range and the +15 Atrophy Bonus Attack Damage is very powerful to stack damage in a short time period, allowing him to decimate the enemy team if they take too long to start a fight, making it a very good choice.
Level 20:+70 Attack Speed vs +20 Health Regen : It may appear as a game ending decision, but it's more situational than it looks. Both talents are good, but as the meta focus on fights happening all the time, the +20 Health Regen talent is the most solid option talent-wise. Being able to stay longer in fights is great, along with the previous Bonus Attack Damage from Atrophy Aura, however, if you feel like being one of the damage dealers from your team and you have the means to deal continuous damage on team fights you can take the +70 Attack Speed instead.
Level 25:+0.8s Pit of Malice Root vs +25% Firestorm Building Damage : At this point in the game, the enemy cores will have their BKB's ready and supports have their defensive items to protect them, so we go with +25% Firestorm Building Damage. The damage Firestorm deals to towers can be game-changing, not only allowing Underlord to have some sieging power as well increasing his split pushing potential, however, if you're in a counter initiation type of team and you have someone who can keep the enemy in place, you could go with the +0.8s Pit of Malice Root, but try to wait their BKB's go into cooldown before engaging.
On spawn, you can choose between this items or the Poor Man's Shield + Tango start; either way, the Stout Shield will be upgrade to PMS later for more tankiness. For overall stats, utility and regen, the first start is better, if you're in a lane where the enemies are mostly composed of heavy right-clickers or bursting heroes, then go with the second one. The two sets of tangoes are bought to ensure you don't have to back up in the lane and miss farm and for mitigate the damage you take while harassing the enemy. The Observer Ward is the ordinary item that every offlaner buys to have vision or block a camp.
As the time goes by, you should have your boots and magic wand. The Vanguard will help you trade in lane and farm the jungle easily. Soul Ring will be nice to keep your mana and spells running, even better with the high amount of healing you're building. Arcane Boots are the most efficient boots for Underlord, since he his abilities depletes his mana quickly and he's going to roam with his team or enter teamfights early, however, you can even go Power Treads or Phase Boots. Treads are the fastest way to get attack speed, damage and good stats and Phase for chasing and deal damage, but these should be considered only if you're maxing Atrophy Aura early on. Mek is all around good item for Underlord since he's going to push the lanes with his team and fight a lot, Blink is one of your most important items since you can setup fights, stop someone from fleeing and most importantly, time your Dark Rift safely to save teammates with it, like some source of Io.
If you have a pushing team or physical damage heroes, this can boost up the lane damage your team will do. The build-up for this item is very convenient for Underlord too, making an early Vladimir's offering a good option.
When you see yourself as the best initiator for your team or the enemy heroes have plenty of ways to escape and/or itiniate with an important skill, then Eul's Scepter of Divinity can be your savior. The item is good on its own, giving movespeed and so much needed mana regen, and is a good setup for alliend skill shots and for Pit of Malice. This is best when paired with Force Staff or Blink Dagger. Keep in mind that while you or your teammate is on the air, and you've casted Dark Rift, it's still going to teleport you, the unit airborne and nerby allies to the targeted unit, instantly cancelling cyclone.
This's better when combined with armor reduction heroes, like Shadow Fiend, Slardar and Vengeful Spirit, but on its own, it's a very good item. It's relatively cheap, the Medallion of Courage that comes with it is very appreciated, and for this meta that favours one core hero hit buildings while his team backs them up, this is an invaluable tool for keeping that hero alive while they chip away at towers. The Shine active has a 7 sec. cooldown, meaning that you can keep it active almost indefinitely.
Although being a really expensive item, it brings good chunk of mana regen and armor, plus a purge combined with almost a Linken's Sphere, making it a good choice if you or a teammate is getting picked off a lot or if you want to counter initiate when protecting your carry with Echo Shell.
On the release of patch 7.06, Underlord gained his Aghs, that extends the duration of Atrophy Aura stacks and nearby allies gain the damage from the stacks for half of the values, meaning that can be perfectly bought if most of your team is composed of right-clickers and you need an item that makes your team benefit from defending high ground or pushing down a lane.
If you're getting focused too much or need something to be able to initiate under their disabling abilities, consider buying BKB. The strenght it gives's really good, making Underlord soak up even more damage. Be sure when to use it though, it's one of the best actives in the game and in terms of gameplay, the cooldown is big enough for the enemy team to force something out of your team.
The item that most tanks do, wheter to make unnaware enemies kill themselves or smart enemies to not attack you, thus making you live longer and be a treat to casters with long lasting damaging abilities or nukes.
The Meme Hammer, aka Actually a Good Item is a good addition for Underlord,
as he can setup heroes for the Hammer Stun, stack up his pushing power by a lot with his lvl. 25 Talent and get some pretty nice stats from it too.
Late Game Items
One of the best if not the best item for Underlord. It fits nearly into everything he needs; with damage from Firestorm and Atrophy Aura, he has to get something that maximazes his attack speed in order to deal as most damage as possible on teamfights and buildings, so AC is the item you want to win your games. The armor, attack speed and the armor reduction are wonderful for Underlord and his team to tear down towers and heroes.
Your upgrade from Mek. A pretty good item for most of supports and for Underlord, who's always with his team fighting and pushing. A chunk of heal and mana for everyone in a short cooldown, plus a basic dispel, makes this item a must once on late game.
The perfect item to stop the enemy caster from killing your team, shut down their carry or ruin thier initiation. At this point in the game, you shouldn't have any major problems with lack of mana, so spam this often. Remembering to use it frequently can sometimes save games, since Vyse doesn't pierce through magic immunity, enemies will try to pop their BKB's as soon as possible, so try to use it before they do this.
Granting a total of 1300 health and 2.4 (+ 7% of max health) health regen and 40 attack damage for 5200 gold is a good deal for Underlord. Combined with the armor and attack speed from the item build, Tarrasque is a viable option if against a team with high physical and magic damage or if you're really ahead in the game.
Pick this up when against heavy magic damage teams. Underlord is made to live through fights with his sustain from items and Pipe helps this sustain with a nice HP regen. It's ideally made to tanky supports or high HP regen heroes to carry it, making a good choice for Underlord on the late game.
A very common item on Underlord, grants him and his allies great damage block, health and HP regen, good for pushing and defending high ground, good against illusions and it's effective against armor reduction as the damage block takes effect before the damage reduction of armor. This means that if incoming damage is actually going to be amplified due to negative armor, a large portion of it can be blocked before it is amplified.
In this section, you'll be reading about the whole Underlord's gameplay and useful tips that'll make you play efficiently, such as farming, zoning, warding, use of abilities and much more.
Here you want be focused on the laning phase, because it's where it all starts. Underlord has a good, but also safe laning phase. His passive allows him to farm the lane, jungle and harrass easily while negating a little portion of the enemy damage. In this stage of the game, your main goal is to get XP, not die and roam if possible.
Blocking is the term given when you block your creep's path physically with your hero, slowing them and making the lane lean towars you. Since your creeps will take longer to get into the middle of the lane, they'll meet closer to your tower, making you farm safier and the enemy's riskier. On a side note, sometimes you may want to let the ranged creep go first, by blocking all the melee creeps,This allows the ranged creep to die first, and since it has higher damage and lower health, the lane will push more towards your tower which is preferable, compared to if you let a melee creep go first.
Heroes hitboxes change size, meaning that bigger heroes have are better at blocking than the smaller ones. Heroes with low movespeed/big hitboxes, it's better to lock your camera to follow your hero and click in a zig zag manner in front of the creepwave and with heroes with high movespeed/small hitboxes it's better to right-click and spam "S" to stop your hero.
Underlord has a easy time farming due to Atrophy Aura, when not being harassed by the enemy supports. His attack animation is really good, allowing him to deny creeps easily. When farming, try to click on the enemy carry while near his creeps to draw aggro from the creeps, making them spread across your creep wave and, most importantly, kill your ranged creep faster in order for you to deny it. The reason to priorize the ranged creep is to deny the enemy's farm, since it gives the largest amount of XP out of the other creeps; you get 70% of it's XP and considering that you'll be alone in the lane means that you get levels a lot quicker than the enemy.
If the enemy HC (Hard Carry) isn't in lane or you know the enemy midlaner is going to gank you/is missing, don't retreat to your tower yet you could farm the jungle. You'll make your enemy lose farm/XP and, by the time you've finished your camp, the waves will be near you tower again and you can go back to farming without having to overextend.
Tips to improve farming
The best way to practice/improve your last-hitting is to play a custom botgame. One way is to practice with the old Shadow Fiend Way: play a single player mode and try to have 50 creep kills in 10 minutes.
The more minions you kill, the more money you'll have. Last-hitting means that you kill the minion just before it dies. It's the best to get most of them with your auto-attacks. This way you'll end up with more mana and you can stay in lane longer. Using Firestorm for the ones you won't be able to get with your auto-attacks is fine too. It's also a way to kill more minions at once if there are more than one dying.
Firestorm radius takes almost the entire lane lenght, mening that if the enemy HC wants to harass you he'll either go through the trees or take some damage. You want to put Firestorm in a way that hits both HC and his creeps, making him think twice about getting the creeps.
Here is the thing. As Underlord you want to push with your team, but, you can do this by yourself if you're wary. If you push your lane you’ll be ending up overextending and that leaves you very vulnerable for ganks. Since you don’t really have an escape besides your Pit of Malice (what isn’t even a real escape like a dash or a stun, and the enemies will try to avoid it, so it isn't that reliable) you should always carry a Town Portal Scroll and have your ult up, if possible. Think twice about pushing when there are enemies with silencing, long-stunning abilities and high pickoff potential heroes. Just don’t push if you have no reason to.
If you're willing to push, be sure when and how to escape from enemy rotations.
When to push?
✦Your enemy isn't in lane/won a teamfight
If your enemy is dead, went back to base or went for a roam and it's too late for you to follow up then it's a good time to push. This will cause your enemy to lose farm and XP. It will also draw the enemy team attention to that lane, meaning that they will defend it and give your team a short period to push another lane or worring about getting ganked. Same thing with teamfights, but in this case you want to push to force the enemy buyback.
Map Awareness & Communication
These two concepts heavily affect on how you play Underlord and will determine wheter you're a normal or an expert player not just with him, but in the game in general. When it comes to Map Awareness you have a lot of things to consider, the factors that goes into this idea and why they show so much difference in skill level, such as:
+ What does your team do well? + What does the enemy team do well? + Who has better Roshan potential? + Who has better pickoff potential? + What can you kill when splitpushing?
On your games, you might consider different things that the enemy or your team does, in this case as a Underlord, your biggest concern is their ability to kill you, since you help your team a lot. Some heroes kill you by mobility like Storm Spirit, others by solo killing like Invoker and Clinkz, etc., so recogzing the ways they have to kill you means how much and when you're going to splitpush. You can do this by looking at their lineup at the beggining of the game to be able to adapt to any situation.
A vital point to increase your Map Awareness is to understand the information that is being presented to you by the enemy team at a determined moment of the game. If you understand what you see and what you and your teammates can do about it, then you can benefit from it in the most efficient way. If the your lanes were pushed by the enemy team and they're gone from the map, they might be roshing or preparing for a smoke gank. If more than 3 enemies aren't appearing in the map, they might be grouping for a gank or to push a lane. Being able to react to these situations can guarantee a game or outplay your enemy strategies.
As for Communication trying to build a rapport with your team is one of the most difficult things to do but also the most important. It's hard, in part, because it's easy to ignore: to believe that if you just keep your head down, stay quiet and play then nothing bad can happen. This is an understandable approach, but not the ideal one. Team chat is there for a reason.
Speaking with your team: The first step to get things going with your team is to actually talk. Everybody's been burned in Dota at one point or another, and everybody considers staying silent just to avoid the flames. Being simple yet clear like "which lane do you want?" during hero selection makes it clear that (a) you're willing to cooperate and (b) you're invested enough in the game to start strategising. This promotes good behaviour in other people, and—if at least a few of your teammates feel like you've got their back—shields you against rage from the minority later on.
Complimenting Someone: This also really good to create bonds with your teammates. "Well Played!" is good command to do this; calling someone out specifically-"wp dazzle".This makes people feel respected and, as a consequence, they're more likely to regard you positively. You might even get a new friend by doing this. When things get ugly and you're willing to back each other up, it can hold the team together.
Suggesting actions: It's a good idea to frame what you say as a suggestion. "We need detection" is bad; "I'm going to buy dust" is good. Similary, "Ursa haste" is okay: "Ursa haste top, get back" is better. If you express yourself in a way that is both detailed and clearly communicates the action that needs to happen, that action is more likely to happen. As a bonus, it becomes harder for bad-attitude teammates to complain that they weren't give enough warning about an incoming gank, too.
"Why do they always ward my jungle? "
It's very important that keep your lane warded. Wards can give you crucial informations about the enemy that help you stay alive during laning phase and prevent your death. It can tell when you should back off or that you can play more agrresively. It also allows you to warn your teammates if you see someone going towards them.
❖SENTRY & OBSERVER WARDS
Your ordinary ward. As a position 5-4 you should buy one of these at the draft phase. You can carry up to 4 wards, and they start with a stock count of 2, which is the amout of wards that are available at the shop. They last for 6 minutes, so be sure where to put them to not waste gold. On the the other hand, can be bought at the start of the game with no limited count, they last 4 minutes and can spot other wards, sentries and invisible heroes independently of being high ground or not. Both can be targeted by enemy Tangoes and Quelling Blade (including its upgrades) to be instantly destroyed.
These wards are more risky to place as they will require you to walk through enemy territory. This means that the possibility to die is bigger, but in return they can give you a lot of information about your enemies. As a safety measure, it's better to do this with someone escorting you or while being smoked.
OBSERVERS & SENTRIES
This one shows what the supports are doing: if they're stacking a camp, waiting to gank you or stacking the camp. A good ward for the offlane in general.
2BOUNTY RUNE & ROTATIONS
Although this shows more stuff comparing to the previous one, it doesn't show what the supports do, making the first one better for the early stages of the game. You can see the bouty rune and both camps from this ward, allowing you to see if the supports are going to roam to the midlane or if the HC is farming the hard camp or the easy camp.
This's a really good ward, it shows the bottom rune and shows any movement from the jungle, shrine or the midlane.
One of the most useful wards to put since it gives vision from enemy rotations coming for almost every direction.
2RADIANT'S JUNGLE & T2 TOWER
I start to put this ward when the T1 bottom enemy tower is down. It gives vision from the Medium and Hard camp, but the reason for this ward is the vision it gives from possible enemy TP's, flanks and smokes.
Like the name implies, any attempts of Roshan will be seen by this ward if the enemy team don't smoke or ward before hand, meaning that this ward should be always joined by a Sentry Ward. You can also put the wards at the top of the stairway at the left if you think that the enemy team will come from that direction.
!OFFLANE CAMP STACKING AND BLOCKING
As an offlaner, your job is to get levels and XP. while helping your team when you can. One trick that does all of that in a small period of time is stacking camps and blocking enemy camps by putting a ward inside the neutral camp spawn box. When you farm stacked camps you are getting a lot of XP and gold without the risk of dying and when you block your enemy's camp you make their supports waste time and gold dewarding the blocked camp, making them not be able to make pulls and their HC fall behind in farm.
Mid GameWhen entering mid game, you'll slowly start to group up to take objetives like towers or Roshan. This is were Underlord starts to get strong. Most of the time, taking objectives will result in teamfights, making Underlord a big threat for everyone that faces his team, since he'll have a ton of bonus damage due to Atrophy Aura and his Dark Rift if things go wrong. If things are looking good you can Dark Rift your team to another lane and continue to push, forcing the enemy to defend it and waste TP's and important abilities.
Team fights often occur when you're grouping for objectives like towers and Roshan. If your team has a strong engage, like Enigma, Faceless Void or anyone that can lock down the enemy team easily, use your Pit of Malice after the CC to keep them longer in place and use Firestorm as soon as the CC conects. If you have to save someone, just Dark Rift them out of the fight.
Role in team fights
Underlord is a utility DPS tank. His role is to zone out the enemy while disrupting them and doing constant damage, both magical and physical. You'll try to interrupt their initiation or followup, while tanking the damage for your team. After you've used your Pit of Malice your zoning ability is almost gone and you want to start hitting their supports or HC, since they're squishy and depend on each other to do anything in the fight. The longer they try to face you, the better for you to reduce their damage and power to continue fighting.
Positioning in team fights
You try to stay in front of your team in order to protect your cores and to be able to followup any engagement they make. The best way to position yourself is to stay on a place where the enemy can only go through you to reach your cores.
Late GameThis is where Underlord reaches his peek. You'll have most of your core items completed and might even have full build. You'll also be grouping more frequently, so you and your team can siege a lane. You might even bait the enemy team to fight at narrow spaces, smoking to kill a major target and setting up for Roshan. You'll have good STR. and INT. stats to keep you alive through fights and you'll be pushing hard the lanes with Firestorm and Atrophy Aura stacks. This is also where your Dark Rift can either make you win or throw the game. Using your ultimate to push another lane after a already successful push or to counterpush will determine if you win or lose the game.
SummaryI would like to thank all of you for taking your time to check out my first guide! I hope it helped anyone to get better with Underlord or interested in try out this amazing hero. All feedback is appreciated, so please feel free to leave comments or suggestions for me on the guide and I'll try to update it as soon as possible. If you would like to contact me, hit me up with a personal message and if you really like the guide, please hit the like button and favorite it if you wish.
ChangelogHere's a list of changes that I made to the guide since the original publish date. When I make a change or update I'll add it to the list with what the change or update was.
Jun 16th 2017 - Guide Release.
Jul 11th 2017 - Added Changelog
Jul 11th 2017 - Changed the line dividers that were causing visual bugs.
Jul 12th 2017 - Not an update, just wanted to thank every single one that viewed/commented/voted on the guide, I didn't think that I would hit 4.5K views with my first guide. I never expected it to be this successful so quickly. I really appreciate all the support! <3
Sep 16th 2017 - 8.5K views!! You guys are cuties <3